Adventures in Iceland

Hi Everyone! My apologies for my lack of posting, but I had a lot going on with moving into a new apartment. Now that I am officially settled in (a month and a half later) I wanted to share a post about my trip to Iceland last year. A handful of friends and family are interested in visiting the beautiful country and I highly recommend it!

Last December, I took a trip to Iceland with one of my girlfriends. We did our research to weigh our options and found that renting a car was ABSOLUTELY the way to go. We even opted for the hotspot with our car rental, so we were able to navigate the country and streets. It was very cheap and allowed us to stay connected throughout our entire trip. We skipped the tours because they were overrated. Lucky for us, there wasn’t a lot of snow (just rain) and we made the best of our trip with our own schedules.

Our flight via Delta was pleasurable, we even got upgraded to first class and sat near Gregor Clegane, The Mountain from Game of Thrones! When we arrived in Iceland, we picked up our rental car and headed to the Foss Hotel, Iceland’s largest hotel chain. The airport is only 45 minutes away from Reykjavik!

Once we settled into the hotel, we took a walk into town to visit the Icelandic Phallological Museum. I’ll be honest, I’ve never seen so many male parts in my life. From whale penises to horses, and more, you certainly will be entertained for an hour or more!

When reading this post, keep in mind that we went early December (near Winter Solstice) so we were basically chasing daylight. We had to wake up very early every morning to be able to see the natural wonders of Iceland in daylight.

Our first full day, we went to Thingvellir National Park and the Golden Circle- a popular tourist route with three landmarks. The 190 mile route leads you to the national park, a geyser, and Gullfoss, Iceland’s most famous waterfall. It is a long drive from the capital but worth it. Here are some pictures below. We stopped and fed horses too!

On our second day, we woke up VERY early to drive to the Jokulsarlon, which was 4 hours away from the capital. The drive is long and you’ll see how desolate and quiet the country really is. Majority of the drive consists of moss-covered lava for miles on end, however; the glacier lagoon was hands down, THE BEST, part of the trip. Seeing glaciers in person is a once in a lifetime experience, and absolutely breathtaking. On the way back, we stopped at the various waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. All of these scenic landmarks are in Southern Iceland, accessible via Route 1.

On our last full day, we visited the Blue Lagoon. Even though it is man-made, the lagoon is quite awesome. You can spend hours on end in there, with free face masks and endless photo opportunities.

Last but not least, we attempted to see the nothern lights, but due to the weather we were unsuccessful. I hope to travel again soon back to Iceland to try again!

Best places to eat:

  • Caruso
  • Svarta Kaffio- can’t go wrong with beer and bread bowls!
  • Baejarins beztu hot dog stand

Few tidbits:

  • If you rent a car and stay in Reykjavik, make sure to get coins for the parking meters! Icelandic parking meters don’t take American credit cards.
  • When you need to put gas in the car, you need to get a prepaid gas card to activate the pump. This can be easily done inside at any gas station.
  • If you are looking to “pregame” bars or even drink in your hotel room, buy alcohol at the Duty Free Shop at the airport. We never crossed paths with a liquor store, and drinks at the bars are expensive!
  • Food and drinks are expensive in Iceland, so try to make the most out of your complimentary options in your hotel (if you have any) or your kitchen in your Airbnb.

Things we would have done differently:

  • Stayed at multiple hotels around Iceland. Since there are various landmarks around Iceland that are hours away, it would have made more sense to book hotels throughout the country as opposed to driving back to Reykjavik every night.
  • Travel in January/February. We only had a couple hours of daylight in December, so it was hard to squeeze everything into a few hours a day.
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How to save money on traveling!

LDo you have a travel bucket list but fear blowing your savings?

There are multiple ways to save money. First, look for hotels that don’t compromise your budget or your safety. You could also try an Airbnb. They are great especially when you want to live like a local! My first Airbnb was in Paris and I loved it.

Second, look for flash deals. Plenty of airlines and websites offer flash deals that you can take advantage of. For example, I scored a great flight and hotel deal through Expedia for Iceland. I promise, good deals are out there you just have to look for them!

Third, If you want to make the most out of your money, sign up for a rebates site. They work with popular travel sites such as Expedia.com, Booking.com, Hotels.com and Agoda.com to give you money back for just booking through them.

I’ve made some great savings so far on my online shopping. I recently booked my flights to Thailand and received $16 cashback on the flights and more than $20 on the hotel stays. There are no catches, and it’s completely free to join.

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Top Travel Hacking Tips

  • Acoid traveling during peak times like morning rushes. I typically fly at night to avoid crowded airports.
  • Shop last minute deals on websites, Hotel Tonight and Cheap Caribbean.
  • Plan your travel itinerary as much as possible so you know what you want to see at your final destination. It helps organize your thoughts and your plans!
  • Pack light but smart. During my trip in Greece I only had a carry-on size backpack and it was plenty for the whole week! I rolled my clothes instead of folding to optimize space.
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